'Jayme is the hero', sheriff says of Wisconsin girl who escaped captor

Geraldine Edwards
January 14, 2019

"The fact that Jayme did what she did and got out is unbelievably awesome", said the woman at the cafe.

"My legs started to shake".

"Jayme was taken against her will and escaped from the residence in which she was being held and found help", Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald told reporters.

Jayme's aunt, Jennifer Smith, posted on Facebook that Jayme was doing well.

As authorities tried to find out what motivated a Wisconsin man to allegedly kill a couple he appeared not to know and kidnap their 13-year-old daughter, lawyers for the suspect in the murders of James and Denise Closs and the abduction of Jayme Closs lamented "a very tragic situation" and said they were relying on the courts to treat their client fairly.

So to corroborate Jayme's story, Rice says investigators will scour the northwest Wisconsin neighborhood where she frantically approached a dog walker Thursday.

"Did he take things with her, did she go with him to the store, did he buy clothes for her, did he buy food", he said.

"It's never going to be easy, but with the correct support, the correct people to talk to and people there who love you, she's going to be able to survive and thrive", said Beers, who was raised by a foster family after her rescue because of abuse she'd suffered within her own family before the kidnapping.

As Jayme Closs starts her road to recovery following her kidnapping, investigators are trying to piece together what happened during the almost three months she was in captivity.

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Fitzgerald said investigators believe the girl was "the only target" and don't believe Patterson had any contact with the family. During the 20 minutes Jayme was in their home, Peter and Kristin Kasinskas said they tried to make her feel more comfortable.

"Well, right now we're looking for 88 days of evidence", Fitzgerald said.

"I don't understand it yet myself", Fitzgerald said. "Believe me, so are we".

Police are adamant Patterson had no known connections to the Closs family but in the same breath say he targeted Jayme.

As an adult she realized they didn't mean any harm, she said.

Another aunt, Sue Naiberg Allard, posted that Jayme got "the most awaited hug ever" when she returned home.

According to Douglas County Sheriff Tom Dalbec, Gordon police pinpointed and arrested Mr Patterson 11 minutes later thanks to a description of his vehicle that Jayme provided.

Patterson, who was unemployed, remained largely an enigma Saturday.

Jayme was reunited with Smith and her dog, Molly, Friday.

"I thought, 'Good for her she escaped, '" he said.

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They remember her as a bubbly and friendly face around the neighbourhood. "She was complicated but she was a lovely woman". A Burnaby man was found in a donation bin just a day after the city announced its plans to remove them from city streets.

However, authorities believe that Jake Patterson acted alone in kidnapping Jayme Closs and murdering her parents James, 56, and Denise Closs, 46.

Multiple guns were recovered during the search warrant at the residence; including one shotgun that Sheriff Fitzgerald confirmed is consistent with the type of shotgun used at the Closs residence on the night that Jayme's parents were killed.

The small town of Gordon is about 40 miles (64km) south of Lake Superior and about 65 miles north of Jayme's hometown of Barron. Patterson took such measures as shaving his head beforehand to avoid leaving evidence at the scene, the sheriff said.

Despite Erik Patterson's criminal record, few across the township seem to have heard of his family.

The superintendent of the local school district, Jean Serum, described Patterson as a nice kid and member of his high school's quiz bowl team.

"And I would tell her that this experience might feel like it's defining, it might feel like that's who she is now, but it doesn't have to be", Smart said.

Jayme had been missing for almost three months Thursday when she approached a stranger near the small, isolated north woods town of Gordon and pleaded for help.

"She just yelled please help me I don't know where I am". I don't know where I am! "I'm lost", Ms Nutter, a social worker, told the Associated Press.

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